ASUS VivoBook X405UQ Review
ASUS created the VivoBook line specifically for consumers who wish to have a lightweight notebook or ultrabook without the beefy price tag. Truth be told, most of these notebooks do perform well despite being branded as budget offerings.
Then again, there are times when these VivoBooks break the barrier and increase in price as well as in performance. One such notebook is the one we have here, the VivoBook X405UQ. Is it worth the jump in price? Let’s find out in our full review.
Design and Construction
The VivoBook line isn’t really known as having laptops with elegant designs, but rather those with simple ones. Although that simple design is not for everyone, as the notebooks might look too bland for some, even with its brushed aluminum build and finish. Luckily, we have a few color options for the X405UQ which might help in giving the notebook a bit more flavor. The unit we have though has, what could be, the most basic color scheme out there – Silver and Blue. Nevertheless, the device feels well-built as there is little to no keyboard flex and only some minor screen flex. The hinges too, feel solid and sturdy.
The trackpad of the device has a smooth surface and registers taps and gestures fairly well, it is also fast and responsive. The same could be said with the trackpad’s buttons, they are clicky, springy and responsive enough. You’ll also find the fingerprint scanner situated at the top right corner of the trackpad, we encountered a few hiccups with it every now and then but it gets the job done.
Moving on to the keyboard, we are given a tenkeyless layout (no numpad). It has good yet short travel distance and a tactile feel that is enough for a nice typing and gaming experience. The downside, however, is that the arrow keys are smaller than usual, which might cause some wrong key presses. Another downside is that the keys are not backlit, making low-light and night operation difficult.
Display and Multimedia
The VivoBook X405UQ we have is equipped with a 14-inch Full HD IPS display. What makes the notebook’s display special is that it is built on, what ASUS calls, a NanoEdge display. Basically, the company made the side bezels of the laptop thinner in order to cram a 14-inch display into a 13-inch panel. Other than creating an illusion that you are using a bigger device, the slimmer bezels also enabled the laptop to achieve a screen to body ratio of 78%. The display itself is above average as it has good color reproduction, accuracy, and viewing angles. It is quite dim however, even at maximum brightness, making outdoor operations a challenge. The notebook also has ASUS’ Splendid technology app should you wish to manually adjust the screen’s color.
Audio, on the other hand, is only average at best even with the supposed ASUS SonicMaster technology. Mids and highs are present but lack quality, and lows are virtually non-existent. It does go loud but clarity is sacrificed a bit when at max volume. We recommend getting a pair of speakers or headphones/earphones for a better audio experience.
OS, Storage, and Apps
The notebook we have is powered by Windows 10, which is now a norm for laptops these days. The particular OS version is Windows 10 Professional, but this may be because we were given a review unit. Consumer variants would most likely have the more basic Windows 10 Home. The unit is equipped with a 512GB SSD and a 2TB HDD. As we’ve said in our first impressions, the consumer variant of this device uses a different configuration, mainly just a 1TB HDD. There was little bloatware on the laptop as pre-installed apps only include ASUS’ own apps (Battery Health Charging, Install, Live Update, USB Charger Plus, and Splendid Utility), a few small games (Bubble Witch Saga, Candy Crush Saga, Minecraft) and the standard Microsoft programs like Office and Microsoft Edge. It does, however, have Avast installed which may or may not affect your initial setup of the device when you download or install your programs.
We also benchmarked these drives by using Crystal Disk Mark. We only got average numbers for both. Here are the results:
512GB SSD (Micron_1100_MTFDDAV512TBN):
Sequential Read – 444.7 MB/s
Sequential Write – 457.4 MB/s
2TB HDD (Seagate ST2000LM007-1R8174):
Sequential Read – 135.1 MB/s
Sequential Write – 131.4 MB/s
Performance and Benchmarks
Under the hood of our VivoBook X405UQ, is an Intel i7-7500U processor, NVIDIA GTX 940mx GPU, and 16GB of RAM. The unit is not marketed as a gaming machine, but it does have a discrete GPU, making it capable of playing games to some extent. As such, we played and benchmarked a few games on it. We made sure that the graphical settings are set to a quality where the games are at, or at least close to, the optimal 60fps. Check our benchmarks below.
As expected we either had to lower the graphical settings to minimum, or reduce the resolution in order to make most of our games playable. Then again, the 940mx is only an entry-level GPU so heavy games like the ones we’ve tested would surely be a challenge to run. In any case, lighter games like Dota 2 or League of Legends would be playable at high or max settings with good fps.
Other than gaming tests, we also used a few synthetic benchmarks to assess the unit’s performance. Check them out below.
We also tested the notebook’s video editing capabilities by exporting a 1080p video, which was edited on 1080p timeline in Adobe Premiere. The device was able to fully render a 7min video in about 6 Minutes and 40 seconds, which is actually pretty good. Remember that video editing relies mainly on the CPU, so we have the i7-7500U to thank for this. While the 940mx isn’t that great at gaming, it gives video editing quite a boost with GPU acceleration.
Thermals and Acoustics
We tested the i7-7500U and GTX 940mx’s thermals by using the Prime95 and Furmark stress tests. During our Prime95 test, the i7-7500U’s temperature reached a maximum of 79° while during our Furmark test the GTX 940mx reached a maximum temperature of 81°. The i7-7500U’s temperatures are still at an acceptable range albeit it almost reached the 80° threshold, the 940mx’ temperature, on the other hand, is quite high.
The internal cooling system and the single exhaust might be the reason why the internals reached such temperatures. Not only that but the position of the exhaust is also too close to the display panel that the top part gets partially blocked when the screen is tilted backward. Under load, fan noise was quite loud and still audible even when the speakers are at max volumes. External temperatures were good though, the upper left corner of the keyboard was only warm to the touch and the only really hot part was the upper center of the case near the exhaust.
Connectivity, I/O, and Battery Life
Moving to the device’s I/O, on the left we have the power input, Ethernet port, HDMI port, USB 3.0 port, and a USB Type-C port. On the other side, we have a Kensington lock, two USB 2.0 ports, an audio combo port, and a multi-card reader. We have to give props to ASUS here as they included a USB Type-C port on the device, which is always a plus.
As for connectivity, we have WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 to provide the user with the necessary essentials to stay connected to the internet and/or other devices. WiFi reception was strong and stable and Bluetooth works fine and scans quickly.
The laptop lasted us around 4 to 5 hours on light tasks such as typing and internet browsing, which is about average. Of course, heavier workloads were a different story as on gaming or video editing the laptop only lasted a mere 2 hours. Then again, it is recommended that you keep your laptop plugged when doing these activities. In our standard video loop test (playing a 1080p MP4 video in airplane mode and at 50% brightness and volume) the laptop lasted for 3 hours and 40 minutes, which is longer than most but still not enough to be used unplugged. Sadly, the X405UQ isn’t the kind of notebook you could bring to class or on long writing sessions at cafés.
If only ASUS gave the consumers the configuration of our test unit, then it would’ve been a steal for the price, though it would’ve also been too good to be true. In any case, the X405UQ performs quite well, has good video editing capabilities, high base RAM capacity, more than enough battery life for light tasks, a responsive trackpad, and an above average keyboard. It’s downsides though, such as its subpar audio, entry-level gaming capabilities, simple design, and non-backlit keyboard, might be deal breakers to some.
Even with the final testing of its performance, we will still stand by our judgment during our first impressions that the top specced i7 variant is a hard sell for the price of Php 49,995, and that the performance improvement isn’t worth the jump in price. Not only that, but it sits at a dangerous price point where competitors offer devices with more power, better designs, and a lighter weight. ASUS may also be fighting with themselves here as this is the starting price point of their very own Zenbook line and the territory of their gaming FX series. Either way, if you are the type of consumer looking for a lightweight notebook with a bit of oomph, then you could consider putting the X405UQ on your list.
ASUS VivoBook X405UQ specs:
14-inch Full HD IPS Display @ 1920 x 1080 resolution, NanoEdge Display with a 78% screen to body ratio
Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7GHz Quad-Core Processor/ Intel Core i5-7300U 2.6GHz Dual-Core Processor
Nvidia GTX 940mx with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
8GB DDR4 RAM, expandable up to 16GB
VGA Web Camera
2W Stereo speakers with ASUS SonicMaster technology
WiFi 802.11 AC (2×2)
2x USB 2.0 ports
1x USB 3.0 port
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port
1x RJ45 LAN port
1x HDMI port
1x Kensington Lock
1x Multi-card Reader
1x 3.5mm Headphone and Microphone combo port
3 cell 42Whrs Polymer Battery
Windows 10 Pro
326.4mm x 225.5mm x 18.75mm
The ASUS X405UQ is priced at Php 49,995 for the i7 variant and Php 39,995 for the i5. The notebook is already available at ASUS authorized retailers nationwide.